In honor of those who fought for our freedom, NewsChannel 6 caught up with one veteran who helps lead the Patriot Guard Riders.
He spent 40 years in the national guard, and one year deployed in Iraq. Joe Padgett says that although retired military, he still makes it his life mission to serve his country.
A man who used to be on fighting missions, is now riding motorcycles to help families get through some of the hardest times in their lives.
“You’ll find that most of us wear sunglasses for a reason. It’s very emotional. We feel for the family and we feel for the veteran who passed,” says Padgett.
Veterans day is a special day for Padgett. He says his father was a soldier and raised him to honor veterans. A pathway he saw himself walking in his fathers footsteps.
“I was command Sgt. Major for an engineer battalion and I got to go on convoys throughout the province. That’s when the IED’s and that type thing was just starting,” says Padgett.
They’re called the Patriot Guard Riders. That’s where Padgett found himself after retiring from the military, becoming assistant captain in the state of South Carolina. Not all who are on the mission know the veteran they honor, but Padgett says there’s a sense a family.
“The ride captain will give us an idea of the person, who they were, their service as well as what they did in civilian life, a little about their family. If a family member is available we will get a family member to tell us a little bit about them. And that’s the happy times,” says Padgett.
Looking at all the positives on those who lost their lives in combat or served our country is what Padgett believes is key to honor veterans.
“You have to make it positive because if you don’t the negatives will eat you alive,” says Padgett.
NewsChannel 6’s Jenna Kelley conducted the interview at the Columbia County Military Memorial. She says there were families passing through remembering those who fought for our country in any way that they possibly can.